Sunday, September 28, 2008

"While You Were Out" Part XV - Accent Walls and Artwork!

Well, we're officially in the Home Stretch now - Yippeeeee!!!

Painters arrived bright-and-early (I think it was, like, quarter-to-eight! I was all bedraggled and mussy!). Thank Gawd I bought the paint yesterday!!!

Anyway, they jumped right into it and had the job done well-before noon. Room looks much "crispier" now (yeah, I know it s/b "crisp" not "crispy" - but I prefer "crispy!" ;-). Paying for Pros was definitely a Good Decision.

And I *did* get my Accent Wall. And I abso-freaking-lutely LOVE it! I went with "Beachwalk" (Behr 340F-5). It's a good 2-3 shades darker than the Sweet Marzipan, and it is DEFINITELY a Gold Color - No question about it! It actually helps bring-out the gold-tone in the Marzipan and ties the whole room together very nicely!

Rog was a little hesitant about the idea - at first - "Paint one wall a different color?!" He thought that was a very strange idea. But now that he's seen it, he agrees it looks great.

It's not a DRASTIC difference, color-wise (not like having one RED wall - or Gawd-Forbid! - Orange!!!), so it's all still pretty "neutral" (in HGTV-Speak). But it really, really is nice!

Ceiling is Flat "Swiss-Coffee" (and it desperately needed paint!). Baseboards, windowsill and door are Semi-Gloss "Swiss Coffee." Very nice, clean white color - and doesn't require sunglasses!!!

Everything's still a little tacky now - so it's too soon to start moving furniture back. I'll work on that tomorrow. In the meantime, I was surfing various Art-Print sites, trying to find something suitable to hang on the wall above the sofa. I'd started out looking for Bird Of Paradise flower prints. Found some nice things, but thought that I might end up with B-O-P Overkill. Then started looking at Palm Tree prints. Again, found some nice stuff. Lots of stuff in a kinda "botanical" motif, with lots of beige/green tones. Would've been nice - but a little too monochromatic. I wanted something with a bit more "Oomph!"

I did find one nice print of windswept palm trees and a sailboat. I'd started the whole "purchase" process, but then realized that I really couldn't pick-out matting and a frame without actually seeing the thing. Plus, when I did start the process, I found that it was gonna cost something like $170.00+ to buy the print and frame it, online. With no assurance that I was even gonna be happy with the final result!!! Anyway, if you care, I'd found a picture called "Leaving Out" by Malarz at

So, just for grins, I looked at Aaron Brothers' website. We have an Aaron Bros. just around the corner, so there was a chance that I might actually be able to see the print, in person (and be able to choose my own matting/frame/etc.) Turns out they didn't carry the exact same print, but they had something similar. Annnnnd they had a 40% off coupon that I could print-out and bring to the store!

So, off to Aaron Brothers! Well, as soon as I walked in the door, I saw they had a bunch of actual oil paintings - stacked up against the wall. All on-sale for 30% off. Most of 'em looked pretty "generic" - Landscapes, Cityscapes, lots of Italian/Tuscan themed stuff (none of which would have worked), but I figured I'd flip through 'em - just the same. Well, about the 2nd or 3rd picture I found was a beachscape! Windswept palm trees, over a beach with the ocean and sky in the background. Kind of "impressionistic" in style - very brush-stroky - and still kinda modern. Colorful - but not obnoxiously so. I'd brought one of my pillows and my paint-chips with me. Turns out - it's a PERFECT match for the new decor!!!

You know it's always a good sign when you find EXACTLY what you're looking for almost-immediately after walking into a store! (Especially for someone like me - who HATES to shop!!!)

$69.00 for the painting (2'x3'), and $79.00 (less my 40% coupon) for the frame. I chose a black, wooden "distressed" frame (with the store clerk's assistance). It's got a little bit of fru-fru ornate carving in it - but it still goes well (since my tables are black). All-told, I got out of there for under $140.00 for a framed oil-painting that matches the new decor EXACTLY!

Now I'll have to add a bit more "blue" to the finished room - but I can accomplish that quite easily with candles and other tchotchkes, I'm sure!

Can't WAIT to put it all together!!! And yes, I'll post pictures!

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any "Before" shots of the room. But I'm fine with "forgetting" what it USED to look like!

I'm just glad that - soon - it will be DONE!!!

I'm doubly-glad that I gave-up on painting this weekend! We're having one of our (final?) "Nice Weekends" so I've spent MOST of my time lazing by/in the pool!

Yep! Life Is Good!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"While You Were Out" Part XIV - Admitting Defeat

Well... I'd intended to get everything done and put away before Rog got home... Really, I did!

But I think "Painting Projects" are kinda like Childbirth in that you kinda forget exactly how PAINFUL they were!

The last painting project I took-on was the Bathroom (almost 100% cut-work, actually!). I *did* get it done in a weekend, but it was excruciating!!! And that was before I had my "health issues" (Gawd, it SUX getting old!!!).

In any event... Due to circumstances beyond my control (I won't bore you with the details), I was unable to complete the task at hand before Roger's return. And I have pretty much "run out of steam" so we've agreed to hire a painting contractor to finish the job!

The bid came in (after "negotiations") at $400.00. Painter will supply the paint for the ceiling and trim/door (I'd started to paint the door "Ultra-Pure-White" which was actually "Bring-Me-My-Sunglasses/Ultra-Obnoxious-White"), and I'll supply the paint for the top-coat on 3 light-gold walls, and a darker shade of gold for the "Accent Wall" (Yes, I'm getting my "Accent Wall!" Yayyy!).

He's coming tomorrow morning and the job should get done in less than one day! Then I can put the furniture back and the room should *definitely* look 1,000,000% better! (This is the same contractor - Olympic Painting - who painted the exterior of our house, several yrs. ago, and he did a FANTASTIC job!!!)

I've already ordered new curtains, and a new curtain rod. I'm using HGTV's "hint" for expanding the apparent width of the window by having the curtains extend well-beyond the window width. I may, at a later date, build an upholstered valance to go above that (if I can find some fabric that pleases me) - and I'll post about that when/if it happens.

I also ordered new beige lamp-shades from ($17@), so that oughtta brighten things up a bit as well (since the current shades are BLACK).

The rest of the room s/b fine "As-Is."

And it definitely WILL look better!

So, that's the latest!!! I'll post updates once the job is DONE!!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"While You Were Out" Part XIII - Walls are DONE!!!

Okay, so the walls have been rolled and they're mostly complete. I might find a couple of add'l spots that I missed, but I think I pretty much got it covered w/2 coats (just shy of 2 gallons).

No "Accent Wall" - It's all Sweet Marzipan. Pretty neutral in the "gold" end of the spectrum. No complaints! Color would have been nice, but "Oh, well!" I wimped out after the "Apricot/Tums Disaster!"

Speaking of wimping out - I think I may just go with "Ultra Pure White" for the baseboards, windowsill and door. That way, I won't have to d*ck around with Home Depot's inability to guarantee a specific paint-color in a quart size.

Plus, as I'm looking at the wall, against the baseboards, after dark - I think I *do* need some bright "offset" to the gold-ish (but barely noticeable) wall color. UPW oughtta take care of THAT!

Presently, the baseboards are painted in "Ultra-Dull-Beat-To-Sh*t" off-white. And the door, I suspect, ONLY has primer on it. So Ultra-Pure-White oughtta provide quite a kick! I certainly don't think I can make it look any worse than it does now!

So tomorrow, on my way home from work, I'll stop at HD and pick up a quart. Get that done, ASAP, give it an hour or two to dry, then start moving the furniture back, and clean-up this FEMA-worthy Disaster Area!!!

Hey, but at least it's gonna get done, right?! Nothing short of a freakin' miracle!!!!

Okay, I'm off to bed now!

"While You Were Out" Part XII - Almost Done!!!

Okay, I had to take the day-off from painting yesterday. My poor old bones were creaking too much! Actually, I'd developed a rather painful crick in my neck (wouldn't have anything to do with staring at the ceiling while I was doing the cutwork, would it? Nahhhhh!!!!).

I was dead-dog tired last night, so I was in bed by 7:00pm!

Today, I hit it hard! I had a few meetings today - but no Client Crises, thank-goodness! So in between meetings, I rolled a coat of paint on the walls... Finished off the first gallon and - after the work-work-day was done, I ran over to Home Depot and bought another gallon.

I also had a moment of pure insanity. I pulled up Behr's website where you can "paint a virtual room" online. I also dragged out one of my Bird-Of-Paradise throw pillows and got this wild idea that maybe the "Accent Wall" could be orange. Well, technically, "Apricot."

So I bought a gallon of "Apricot Flower."

No question about it being a color. Nope. Nuh uh!

Thankfully, I decided to paint a 2' square patch on the "behind the sofa" wall - while it was still light out.

Orange --err-- Apricot Flower Verdict: Not a Good Plan! It kinda reminds me of Tums - to tellya the truth! (And Roger would probably kill me, actually!)

And then there's the whole issue of having to re-do all the @#$% cut-work again... To say nothing of the "challenges" that would go along with trying to change-the-look of the room if I'm locked into an ORANGE wall.

End Result: all four walls will be "Sweet Marzipan." Honestly, it really isn't a noticeable difference, but it's still an improvement over how the room *did* look. And - as long as I don't completely f**k up the trimwork and door - the room will definitely look more "crisp."

And I'm only out about $25 for a gallon of paint that I can't use or return :::sigh::: Hell, maybe I'll do something outrageous in the dog's room/guest-room (dogs are color-blind, at least - and it might deter guests from staying too long!!!)

Okay, well, I'm almost done with my current "break." I'm starting to get a little nervous about finishing this b/c Rog comes home tomorrow night, and I'm planning on making a Cameo Appearance at the office tomorrow - so my time is running out!

Annnnnnd... I still haven't purchased the paint for the baseboards or door. Evidently Home Depot can't mix up quart sizes of colors that are "close to" white. I don't want to buy another gallon, however. Now I'm debating painting the door/baseboards a DARK color (but NOT Orange!) Maybe something in a darker, olive greenish tone. I gotta decide fast, though - I've only got tomorrow afternoon to finish this up!!!


Monday, September 22, 2008

"While You Were Out" Part XI - Cutwork Complete!!!

Cutwork is COMPLETE! Yaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It actually didn't take all that long - maybe an hour or so... I *do* like the Edger Tool from Shur-line (Home Depot, less than $10 bucks). My only gripe with the Edger is that the pads have a very short life-expectancy. My living room really *isn't* that big, and by the time I was about halfway through with it, the pad started to unravel and it wanted to leave drippies behind it!

Still - it beat the sh*t out of having to apply masking tape to the ceiling!!!

It's not 100% perfect - and there were some gloppies left-behind on the baseboards (I'll fix that when I paint 'em and/or we'll have the Professionals take care of 'em!). You absolutely MUST remember to raise the wheelie-edger thingie BEFORE you plunk it into the tray. And clean-up - when you forget to raise the wheelie-edger thingie is a real PITA, but overall I'd say it's a pretty decent tool!!!

Like I said, it beat the sh*t out of having to apply masking tape to the ceiling!!! (I was really and truly dreading getting up on the ladder, repeatedly!!!)

I'll probably hafta get up on the ladder a couple of times b/c where the "beam" meets the ceiling was less-than a 45* angle - so I'll have a little touch-up work to do. But other than that, I think I'm pretty-much left with Roller Work - which really should be a complete Piece of Cake!

So I can definitely get the WALLS done, before Roger's return.... Baseboards and Door? Not so sure!

And I'm back in "debate" mode regarding the "Accent Wall" (all part of my Psycho-Gemini Mystique!!!). I *did* end up "edging" that wall with the Sweet Marzipan color...

My plan is to paint the other three walls and see how far the first gallon will "stretch." If I run out of paint - but have *most* of the three walls done, I'll probably opt to go with the darker color on the "behind the sofa" wall. But if there's enough paint for ALL four walls, I may skip the "Accent Wall." It's up to the Universe to decide!!!! (After completing the cut-work, I'm only down less-than a quart - so too soon to tell, yet!!!)

Anyway.... I am pleased with my progress, thus far! Now I'm down to "roller" work - which should go pretty quickly. I am fully-confident that the WALLS will be completed before Rog comes home. I am also "somewhat confident" that I can, at least, complete the "hidden" trimwork before he gets back (that'd be the baseboards - behind the piano and sofa). Not sure if I'll get EVERYTHING (including "visible" baseboards and door) before he gets back, but it's GOT to be an improvement over what I'd BEEN looking at!!!!

Home Depot "Home Services" was a complete No-Show. No-Show, No-Call, No-Nuthin'! So, to hell with 'em!!!

I'm going in to the office tomorrow - so I don't expect much progress, but "We'll see............."


"While You Were Out" Part X - Jeezus, aren't you done yet???

No. As a matter of fact, I'm not!!!

But I am about 50% done with the cut-work, at least!!!

Couple of Tips for you Do-It-Yourself Types out there: 1 mil plastic drop-cloth crap really *is* crap. There's a reason you can buy a freakin' acres-worth for under two bucks! It SUCKS!!! It sticks to your feet (even if you're wearing socks), and the ladder *loves* to grab hold of it, drag it around and punch holes in it. Basically, it simply refuses to STAY near the edges of the wall - which kinda defeats the purpose.

I didn't want to spring for the $30-40 for a "real" canvas drop-cloth. I went with some $8.00-ish in-between crap instead. It's sorta papery on one side and plasticy on the other (definitely "disposable" so probably not "GREEN" - but f**k it!!!). At least it stays put!!!

And I spent a whopping $5.97 for the Shur-Line Edger "Pro" (No "Amateur" stuff for me! Nuh UH!!!). It does a "pretty okay" job of edging, but there's obviously some sorta "technique" that needs to be perfected in order to keep the paint off of the edger-border-wheelie things. Yes, on the "Pro" model, you can hit a button and the edger-border-wheelie things pop "up" - supposedly out of the way of the paint. But I've yet to master the technique! Consequently, my fingertips are fully covered with paint b/c every time I plunk the thing in the "Edger Tray" paint dispenser, I end up having to rub off the excess paint.

But I'm not b*tching TOO vehemently - b/c it's kept me from having to climb a ladder and apply masking tape along the ceiling!!!

BTW - The Non-"Pro" model did not have a threaded hole thingie for putting it on a pole. The "Pro" model does. And I'm using a telescoping boat-hook to reach the ceiling.

It's doing a pretty okay job, I think - so I'd recommend it IF you have pretty straight walls. If you're in an 80 yr-old building, I suspect the results would be less-than-spectacular.

So my goal, for tonight, is to finish the cut-work (what the hey - I'm gonna do the might-be-an-"Accent Wall" as well - just in case I choose NOT to darken it). After that, all that's left is roller-work which should go *very* quickly.

I'm starting to stress-out, a bit, over getting this done before Rog comes home. And the door and trim are starting to look less-and-less likely - but we'll see...

Didn't get as much done as I would have liked, today. A) Work got to be a bit busier than I'd anticipated (got a couple of new, convoluted projects going...), and B) Home Depot was supposed to send some Sales Reps out to give me a bid on getting the kitchen re-faced...

While I was looking for TSP, over the weekend, I was approached by a non-orange-apron-wearing Home Depot employee offering to "help." I should've been suspicious from the get-go, right? (But I *have* experienced rare-moments when Home Depot personnel HAVE been willingly helpful!) He helped me find the TSP then asked if I'd heard of their latest promotion (Ut Oh!!! "Timeshare Salesman Alert!!!").

Turns out he was from their "Home Services" Dept and was pitching Kitchen Remodels, right? Would I like a No-Cost, No-Obligation yada yada blah-blah for kitchen remodeling?

"Well, yeah, I'd like to get a Quote for cabinet re-facing - but last time I looked into it, you refused to send anyone out unless my husband was there..."

(Sidebar: There's a REASON for this whole "While You Were Out" approach! Rog is an Electronics Engineer and prefers to have everything in his world pretty "orderly" [Ha! He married the wrong woman for THAT!]. He resists change [although once it's complete - he acknowledges and actually appreciates the improvement!]. Any disruption to his daily routine, however, TOTALLY throws him out-of-whack. Ergo, if he were to come home and see the living room as it looks right now - it would totally put him into a tailspin... Plus, he is aggressively opposed to parting with any capital!!! So these Home Improvement Projects are funded by yours-truly and are ALWAYS completed when he is miles away!!! So by the time he returns, he only has to deal with [and ENJOY] the End-Result - without experiencing any of the Trials/Tribulations of "Getting There!")

So anyway, I expressed a bit of trepidation at the HD Guy's Sales Approach - but then he assured me that he'd be more than happy to arrange to have someone come out and give me a bid. Okay, fine.

So he gets on the phone and schedules an appointment. Simple, right?

So the appt was originally scheduled for 1:00pm, this afternoon. I did get the "scheduler's" phone# - just in case. And that was a good thing b/c as it turned out, 1:00pm didn't work (I had a Client Call scheduled at that time). So I called to reschedule. 5:00pm it is. Cool.

"Someone will call you Monday morning to confirm." Okay...

Well, nobody called. So then I was all nervous that someone would show up at 1:00pm (while I'm in the middle of a client call). Didn't happen...


I spent about half-an-hour straightening the kitchen - so they'd have space to do their measuring and stuff, right? (No big-deal - except for the fact that the living room "overflow" has oozed into the kitchen - while I'm in the midst of my painting project)....

4:30 rolls around and I lock the dogs up. Don't need yapping dogs underfoot while I get my bid, right?

5:00 comes and goes. No sign of anybody!

Now, mind you, I'd wrapped up "work-work" by about 3:30pm. I *could* have been painting all that time - but Noooooo!!!!

Well, now it's after 7:00 and NOTHING! No Sales Rep. No Phone Call. No Nuthin'!

So THAT kinda p*sses me off!!!

Seems to me that if they were THAT eager to offer me a Kitchen Remodel, the Sales Rep could've at least shown up, right??? Or at LEAST the courtesy of a freakin' phone call!!!

"Oh, well!"

I really can't afford it right now anyway...... But it would've been nice to get a rough idea of what kinda $$$ we're talking about here!

Okay, enough kvetching about that. I've got a couple more walls to "edge" then I'll be All-Set for rolling and FINISHING this freakin' paint-project!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"While You Were Out" Part IX - End-Of-Day Musings

Okay, the sun has set and now I have a chance to look at the paint with just interior lights. I painted a patch right next to the kitchen, so it's getting some fluorescent light. I'm sitting here in the kitchen and looking over at it. I can actually see the patch now, the greenish hue is more evident, and I like it (I couldn't see the patch, at all, before!!!). The patch over by the front door is visible as well. It's definitely darker, but not unpleasant since it's a warm tone. The sofa-wall patch is lit by an incandescent lamp, and it, too, looks nice. But it really isn't "dramatically different."

Soooooo... Yep! I've pretty much decided that the wall behind the sofa is going to go "darker" and become an "Accent Wall." The color will be "Beachwalk" and it is *definitely* Golden! Gold, with a hint of green. It's a good 2-3 shades darker than the "Sweet Marzipan" that's going on the other walls. I think it'll be a nice backdrop for the sofa (Give it some "pop" - much as I hate that word!).

And if I replace my black lampshades with something significantly lighter, I think things'll still be plenty "bright."

I mean, honestly, it'd really suck to do all this work and have it not be noticeably different!

Door and trimwork will be "Beach Sand." A much, much lighter - almost white - color with a slight hint of gold.

I can't guarantee I'll get the door and trimwork done before Roger's return. I really do have a difficult time keeping my momentum!

Side-Note: I am a Classic Psycho-Gemini who has, umm, Attention-Span Issues! I usually have at least half-a-dozen projects going at once - and rarely do ANY of them get completed!

My job is actually perfect for me. I'm a Business Systems Analyst and I usually have about 20-30 different Client Projects going at once. I am a Supreme Multi-Tasker and I love juggling multiple projects. Also, nearly all of my engagements are short-term (lasting weeks- to months), so I never get a chance to get "bored!"

So for me to have to concentrate solely on ONE thing for several-days-in-a-row is pretty excruciating for me!

(Conversely, Roger is an Electronics Engineer and excels at FOCUSING on ONE THING, to the exclusion of EVERYTHING ELSE. I think we've got that whole "Opposites Attract" thing kickin' - but the differences between us have proven to be quite challenging, at times!!!)

Tomorrow should be better, actually. I'm working from home, so I'll be able to split my attention between Work-Work and Painting-Work. I just hope none of my clients decides to "have a crisis" tomorrow!!

Oh, and my friend-and-colleague, Joysey-Kathie, suggested that I try to get one of those Edging Pad Tool thingies. There's a write-up on 'em here: Evidently, she was helping a friend of hers with an interior painting job. He used one of these and she claims it did a pretty good job. I figure it's worth the $10 investment to try it out. I really am dreading climbing up on the ladder to do cut-work on the vaulted ceiling. I figure I'll try it with the light paint tomorrow. Even if I do screw up and smudge the ceiling a bit, it shouldn't be too noticeable - since the "lightness" of the paint is pretty close to the beige - and the ceiling is dirty anyway.

Figure we'll let the professionals fix it when I convince Rog to hire 'em!

If the edger thing works okay, then I'll use it over on the Accent Wall as well. If not, then I'll do the climb-a-ladder thing. But it shouldn't be toooooo painful if I'm only doing the one wall.

As far as energy goes: Methinks it's the diabetes. Well, diabetes and chinese food. Not a good combination! Yes, I *can* indulge every once in awhile. But that means ONE MEAL, ONE TIME! Unfortunately, I ended up getting three meals out of yesterday's Chinese Take-Out Debacle. The late-night snack was a bad idea, and I woke up with higher-than-normal (but not off-the-charts) blood sugar. So that gave me a "bad-start" for the day, and it's still difficult for me to recover. Then I ate MORE chinese food for lunch again today. Verrrrry bad.

When I found myself feeling slow-mo this afternoon, it didn't occur to me to check my blood sugar right away. I wrote it off to being tired from all the physical labor. By the time I did check, I was up to 226 (Verrrrry Bad!), so that explains the Zombie-like feeling.

I have since dosed myself with more insulin, but I don't expect to recover fully tonight. :::sigh:::

But I can't beat myself up too badly. I mean, this really is the first BIG project I've tackled since I was Dx'd back in December. And this *is* a pretty big project! I've accomplished a lot, so far - and I WILL accomplish even more! "Chin up" and all that!

So I plan to take it easy tonight, go to bed early, and plan for a Better Tomorrow!

"While You Were Out" Part VIII - Runnin' Out of Steam...

...But I *will* finish!

I have nearly-completed the "front" wall of the house. That wall has the most cut-work with a window and a door. So I applied generous amts of masking tape and did all the hand-paint/brush-work.

There is some roller-work to be done on that wall - but not much. There's not that much open wall-space.

I also painted 2-3 square patches on some of the other walls - just so I could see what it's gonna look like. Now that the patches have dried... Ummm... To be honest, it's not gonna look much different at all!!!

Here I was all afraid I'd chosen a color that was too dark. In fact, it's about equal in "lightness" to the beige that was on there before!!! But it is definitely a much warmer, much more golden tone.

But to look at it straight-on, I don't think anyone's gonna see or think "That's Gold."

So now I'm thinkin' I may end up doing one wall a darker color - as an "Accent Wall" - just so it looks like I *did* something!!!

To be fair, even if I do stick with the one color on all four walls, it *will* be an improvement. It'll certainly be more crisp and fresh. But I do want a little bit of drama.

For now, I'm feeling strangely pooped out. So I think I'll try to take a short nap and see if I can muster up sufficient energy to tackle the cutwork leading up to the vaulted ceiling (Yuk!).

Then all I'll be left with is roller-work, and *that* part should be a piece of cake!

"While You Were Out" Part VII - Paint Has Been Purchased!!!

Man, this is turning into quite the saga, isn't it?!!

Just ran over to Home Depot (around noon-ish on a Sunday - "What are you NUTS?!!"). Bought some fresh brushes, rollers, roller-tray liners, couple of small paint pails (for the ladder-top cut-work), and a GALLON OF PAINT!!! I've decided to go with my first choice, Sweet Marzipan (Behr ICC-51). It looks kinda golden-tan straight-on. But when I had the paint chip in the living room, I could see a faint green-ish tone which I really liked.

Living Room Theme is going from Faux-Asian to Mild-Tropical. The sofas are tan leather (kinda '80's style, but still generic enough). I bought some throw pillows a few months back that have Bird of Paradise Flowers on 'em, with a beige-greenish border. So I think the new paint will complement those nicely. I'll definitely be buying new drapes (or something!) at some point, and some new art-work. Previously I had a Chinese-brush-stroke black/white horse painting hanging over the sofa, and a colorful wedding-kimono hanging on the opposite wall. Now I think I want some kinda tropical art-print. Maybe palm trees... Maybe a Bird of Paradise Flower, haven't decided yet...

And I do want to get a silk palm tree to stick in the corner with an uplight behind it. I wish I could do a real palm tree but there really isn't enough light in there to sustain any living plants.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!

I got some PAINT to put up on these walls!!!!!!

"While You Were Out" Part VI - Okay, I'll scrub the damned walls already!

It's confirmed. Ceiling *ain't* gonna get done!!!

I just attempted to scrub it with one of those roller-mop thingies (with the self-squeezie mechanism on the handle). There's a "beam" running along the peak of the ceiling and I could barely squish the mop up into it. No way a roller's gonna fit up there, and I'm not going up that high with a brush.

Nope. Not hap'nin'!!!

In fact, all the overhead work with just scrubbing the ceiling is too much for my middle-aged bod!


So we'll have beauteous walls and a scungy ceiling - at least until I can convince Rog to hire us some-a them-there purrfesh'nal painters! My "Powers of Persuasion" can be quite strong! (Certainly stronger than my arms when it comes to scrubbing or painting ceilings!)

Okay... Much of the sweat has dried now (either Sweat or "TSP Substitute" - I suspect a combination of both!).

I'm turning the AC on now - and I'm off to scrub *just* the walls!!

(Who's freakin' brilliant idea was this, anyway??? ;-)~~

~~~~~~Half an Hour Later~~~~~~

Okay, I work for a half hour... Sit down for ten minutes... Work for a half hour.... Sit down....

I'm "just over" halfway thru with wall-scrubbing (YAAAAYYY!!!). I keep getting glops of foamy-soap on the carpet - but the carpet is soooo old and soooo hideous, it can't possibly hurt it! (Think '70's Brown Shag, okay?? Yech!) (But yes, I will put down plastic before I paint!!)

I'm trying to turn the house into a meat-locker with the AC. It's not cool enough yet!!! I've got a small fan at my desk (I'm sitting directly in front of it) and a big box-fan blasting in the living room. I'm still sweating like a pig!!! Ahhhh the Joys of Middle Age!!!

Actually, as I'm sitting here and looking over at the living room... And it *could* be that I'm delusional... But... Maybe not!

Holy cow! The room already looks brighter!

I don't flippin' believe it!!!!

Don't get me wrong, it's still pretty dingy. The door, especially - it's been screaming for paint for so long, I think it finally gave up all hope! It's actually so bad you can "almost" see the original wood underneath. But anyway, overall, the room already looks a shade or two brighter!

I'll take that as "encouragement!" (and BOY do I need encouragement!!!)

In fact, this *may* mean that I can skip full-blown priming. I'll limit myself to priming just the door and windowsill (they both need it desperately), and the spackle-patches, and anyplace where I can't scrub the bad stains off (crayon marks and bad rub-marks and whatnot)...

Yeah, I probably should do the whole thing "properly" - but I'm honestly afraid of running out of steam! *And* running out of time!

I ABSOLUTELY MUST get this done by Thursday.

Okay, with that thought....... Back to work!!!!!!!

~~~~~~Another Half an Hour Later~~~~~~

Okay then! The WALLS ARE SCRUBBED!!!! Yippeeee Skippeee!!!!!

And yes, it absolutely DOES look better. I am stunned and amazed. So I think I can safely recommend Jasco TSP Substitute. It's a green, concentrated liquid that comes in a 1 gallon jug for something like $12 @ Home Depot. I mixed 1 quart w/4 quarts of warm water (which has long-since gone cold). It did a fine job. And it's been so long since I used TSP, I can't say, for sure, whether there's a significant difference in performance or not.

At least it doesn't require rinsing - so based on that alone, I'd say that the Jasco Stuff gets a big "Thumb's Up!"

So I'm gonna give the walls a short-while to dry out, then I'll drag out the primer and do my spot touch-ups. It would appear that Mr. DIY - the previous homeowner - did some spackling jobs in the past and never bothered to paint over it - harumph! (I know there's no way in hell Rog did that - he doesn't initiate those types of home-improvement/repair projects) (In fact, I'm not sure if Rog even *knows* what spackle is!!! No joke!!!)

Sooooo... First I'll drag out the plastic and drape it over the carpet...

Then Primer Touch-ups... Then I gotta get up on the ladder and start with cut-work up along the ceiling (Ugh! I *hate* cut-work!). I'm trying to convince myself that I have a steady-enough hand to do it without masking tape. But I know I don't - so just "Stop It Already!!!" I simply HATE squiggly paint lines so I'm just gonna tape it.

Plus, what's weird is - on all the vertical walls - we don't have sharp corners. They're all "rounded" so that's gonna make it interesting when it comes time to decide where to "stop" painting. Definitely gonna need tape for that!

So I'm tackling this in order of "Yucky to Easy." Roller work is the easiest part, so that'll come last!

Allllrighty then - I'm off to find the plastic sheeting................

"While You Were Out" Part V - Day 2

Dang... I guess I'm not getting as early of a start as I'd hoped!

It's going on 9:00am and I'm chuggin' a cuppa, and thinking 'bout getting started.

I didn't sleep too well last night. Not sure why - but it might've been the chinese food (snacked on cold chow mein just before bed - Yummy at the time, but not-so-good later on!!!).

The living room looks like Gustav or Ike (or whatever!) just hit. So I'm solidly in that "It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better" Stage - which is pretty demoralizing. It's like, I wake-up to pure pandemonium and wonder why I'm not feeling all that motivated- Huh!

Might do a quick run to Home Depot and buy a gallon of paint - just so I've got something to "entice" myself into moving forward!!!

Oh Crap! That reminds me. I gotta make sure I've got an adequate supply of brushes and rollers too! (Yeah, that might help!!! D'oh!)

Okay, time to get off my hinder and get started!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"While You Were Out" Part IV - Day One: Stick a Fork in Me!

Okay... Stick a fork in me because I am DONE for today (unless I get a 'Sudden Burst of Energy' later tonight!)

Swiffering is complete. It took about half-a-dozen swiffer pads, but I think I got rid of the cobwebs and dust-bunnies (for the most part!).

Spackling is also complete.

I've filled all the holes except for the molly-bolts that hold the curtain rod. I found lots of cracks - which is somewhat troubling. Then again, the house *is* 35 yrs old and we do live in earthquake territory - so I guess some settling/cracking is to be expected.

However, I did find a "run" of textured plaster - where the living room opens to the kitchen - that seems to be "sagging" somewhat. I first noticed it winter-before-last when the roof started leaking (we have since replaced the roof, BTW). But I suspect that this was an issue before Rog bought the house (in '98) because I found that "someone" had attempted to repair it with - SCOTCH TAPE of all things!!! (Yes, Scotch Tape!)

The previous homeowner was "Mr. Do-It-Yourself" with.... let's just say... "marginal" handyman skills. We've uncovered all SORTS of surprises over the years. My personal favorite was discovered when Sears came to install a new dishwasher (since the old one sounded like a 747 with it's reverse-thrusters in full-operation!). The installer discovered that the old dishwasher had been wired-up with a standard, household-grade extension-cord SPLICED IN with nothing but electrical tape holding the splice together!!!

Yeah, electricity and water - under the sink! Freakin' Genius!!!

Anyway, I looked at the sagging plaster and contemplated scraping it off - but then I'd have to apply new plaster and attempt to match the texture. That is definitely "Out-Of-Scope" for my skillset, so I've opted to leave it alone - other than removing the Scotch Tape and spackling the developing cracks (which will no-doubt return, and get worse, over time!).

Whenever/If-ever we decide to hire professional painters, we can pay THEM to repair it properly and re-paint it. Paint-wise, it's a pretty small wall to re-do - and I'm sure I'll have enough paint left over...

Some of the other cracks I discovered were on "inner" corners, so I had to apply the spackle with my fingertips. But most of the cracks/holes were standard "putty-knife" fare. So that's all done!

I just have to wait for the spackle to dry, then sand it.

Then scrub the walls, prime the spackle-spots, tape (UUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!), then PAINT!

Yeah - sounds simple, doesn't it?!!

How come they can get all this sh*t done in under 30 minutes on TeeVee, huh?!! THEY make it look SIMPLE!!! Oh yeah... "The simplest, least-expensive way to give your home a face-lift is to PAINT it!"


(Mind you, I haven't even PURCHASED the paint yet!!!)

:::sigh::: Are we having fun yet???

P.S. On a Diabetes-related note: Yes, I did "pay" for the Chinese Take-Out Lunch, but not too badly. BG rose to just over 150 - 2 hrs after lunch (despite the pre-emptive Novolog "strike"), but no long-term ill-effects. Did I mention that I am THRILLED w/the Stanford Endocrinologist and the new Insulin Regimen???? ;-)

"While You Were Out" Part III - Lunch Break!

Okay, lunch-break time...

Actually, lunch-break is over now. But I want to regroup and enjoy a cigarette and an Adult Beverage before I dive back into it...

Lunch (if you care) was Chinese Take-Out. Not exactly "Diabetic-Friendly" but since I've started the new U500 insulin, it's nice to know I *can* indulge every once in awhile. Prior to lunch, with all the running-around I'd been doing, my BG had dipped into the low 90's so I felt "safe" with getting some chinese food (I did take a pre-emptive dose of Novolog, however). Sooo, mushu pork, almond chicken and tomato-beef chow mein for lunch. Followed by an "Orange Push-Up" - the Adult Beverage Du Jour: Sugar-free orange soda, vodka and a tablespoon of cream over ice (Stir well. Or blend - if you so choose!). I get a little tired of "Orange" after awhile, so I embellished mine with a little dribble of Sugar-free Banana Syrup (from - I am not affiliated w/them in any way. I just like their "stuff!"). So I guess you could say I'm enjoying an OrangAna Push-Up - or maybe a BanOrange Push-Up. In either case, it's Good Stuff!

"So how's the painting coming along, Nancy?!!"

:::rolling eyes:::

Okay, so I told myself that I wasn't gonna "stress" over this (although I Abso-LUTELY want to "finish" it before Rog comes home Thursday night). So presently I'm in "Do-what-I-want, When-I-Want-To. In-A-Manner-That-Pleases-Me" Mode!

In other words, I'm taking it sloooooooooow right now! Hell, I can stay up 'til midnight, or later, if I so choose, right?!!

As of this moment: All of the furniture is crammed into the middle of the living room, and is safely ensconced under drop-cloths; Electrical outlet covers/switchplates have been removed; Curtains are down (but the hardware isn't, yet!) - and I'm making note of the fact that our front window actually *is* fairly large and rethinking the heavy velvet [Cheap K-Mart] drapes that I *had* hanging there. Not sure what I want to replace 'em with, but I'd like something a bit lighter-weight and that will open FULLY.

Oh, and I did a preliminary "swiffering" of the dust and cobwebs. Very "preliminary!" I need to hit the walls again with a fresh swiffer pad. And I need to drag out the vaccuum cleaner as well. The dogs were having a Field-Day with the dust-bunnies that lived behind the furniture!!! (but they're lousy cleaners - if you ask me!!!)

Next Step: Scrubbing the walls with this Jasco Liquid TSP "Substitute." Freakin' Home Depot doesn't carry TSP anymore - I guess it's not "green" or something. And please tell me I'm not alone in feeling a little "sick-to-death" of the latest "Go Green" trends??? Don't get me wrong - I'm all "for" saving Mother Earth and all that (Yes, we recycle - and I *even* do my own composting!!!), but I think we're starting to go a little "over-the-top" here, folks...

(Case-in-point: I was watching some show on HGTV several weeks/months back... They were featuring some Mega-Mansion someplace [the details escape me, to be honest]. One thing that stuck out in my mind was how they were really highlighting the homeowner's choice of floor materials. Evidently, they'd re-used stone [or marble, or granite, or whatever] flooring that was dug-up from some super-old Chateau in France or Switzerland [or someplace], and they were carrying-on - on the show - about how "Green" that was: To recycle materials from this old European Home, right? Well, yeah, at face-value, that "sounds good" and all that. But we weren't talking about some 800 square foot home, right? It's a mega-mansion! And it was freakin' STONE! I mean, seriously folks - How much did it COST to dig-up the flooring, prep/recycle it, and TRANSPORT it from Europe to the U.S. of A? I'm not talking just dollars [or Euros] here, I'm talking "Mother Earth's Resources." It's all very-well-and-good to claim that you're "green" and all that - but seriously!!! Jeezus Criminy!!!)

* * * * *
Can you tell I'm not eager to start scrubbing the walls??? I seem to be - umm - stalling, huh?!!

Okay, enough yammering for now. I'm jumping back into it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"While You Were Out" Part II - Must... Sit... Down!!!

Just moved the piano. "Allllll byyyyy myyyyyyyyyssseeeelffff!"

Waddya wanna bet I'll be whining about THAT tomorrow?!!

I was gonna ask my next door neighbor to help, but by the time I was ready to move it, his truck was gone!!!

Tchotchke Removal was more work than I'd anticipated. I thought I kept the living room pretty "minimal" for the most part. But I guess I had more candles, ash-trays, and doo-dads on display than I realized.

Oh, and there were several boxes of krep that needed to go to the storage locker. I was dreading that b/c I was afraid that was gonna turn into a separate project all on it's own! I'm running out of space and a lot of stuff needs to be shifted around to maximize capacity.

Thankfully, I only had to move one lightweight but large item (My Christmas Tree Halloween Costume - that STILL smells like pine air-freshener - after almost one year!!!), and I found space (Yay!). (Separate rant: How come my monthly storage locker rent keeps going UP, yet the services DECLINE?!! They only have TWO flatbed carts in the whole @#$% place!!! There were THREE ppl there, so both carts were in-use. I had to hand-carry everything, in multiple trips, down to my basement storage unit! #$%^!!!)

Then a trip to Home Depot. Bought some drop-cloths to cover the furniture and a bucket. Annnnnnd I had to buy a (GASP!) MOP!!!

Ahhhh, the down-side of having a housekeeper - one can't assume that there's a mop in the garage!

* * * * *
Okay, so the sofa and loveseat are in the middle of the room, with the coffee table inverted on top of those. One side table is moved. The piano is just far enough away from the wall that I can crouch down behind it (I didn't want to move it much - if I could help it. Not sure if that'll throw it out of tune, or what). Just need to move a couple more things and the walls'll be clear of furniture (Yayyy!).

Next step: Removing all of the switch-plates and outlet covers and other assorted hardware items. Then the curtains. Yay - I discovered I do have a tension rod in the window-frame so I can throw some "temporary" curtains up while this project is underway............

Been working in some fashion since 7:00am. It's after 11:00 now and I've yet to receive any gratification!!!

All right. Break-time's over. Back to work!

"While You Were Out" Part I - Tackling a New Project

I seem to recall a TV show by that name. Theme being: Deserving Recipient leaves home and, unbeknownst to him/her, a team of interior designers, carpenters, painters, yada yada, takes over the house and re-decorates it.

I have no clue if the show is still on the air (I think it was on TLC or some other channel that's on my "B" List).

I will admit to being a bit of an HGTV Addict, however (I just wish they'd quit shuffling their programming around - dammit - AND bring Paul James the Gardener Guy back to a "normal" and viewable time-slot!). HGTV is on nearly all the time - just because it's easy to watch ("Chewing Gum for the Brain") and there's not much in the way of "plot" so if Roger interrupts me 4,000 times during the course of a program (which happens a lot), it's not like I'm missing anything important...

But anyway, back to the subject at hand: Back in the Early Days of our courtship - when I first moved into Roger's house - I had gotten into the habit of "re-decorating" whenever he'd leave for an extended period of time.

...And there are stories that go along with that!

Who knows? I may end up telling some of them today!

I haven't done any redecorating recently. Hell, I think it's been years actually! And of late I've felt too sh*tty to tackle any projects.

Anyway, Roger is currently doin' the Willie Nelson Thing "On the road again..." He's traveling to Europe - Brussels, Belgium to be precise - for some ECOC Optical Engineer Geek-Fest. So that leaves me with a whoooooole week to "Do Stuff!"

Now, if I had the money, and had planned ahead, I'd've probably made arrangements to have hardwood flooring installed in the living room (installed in such a way that it would blend into the kitchen floor, since we've got an open floorplan), and had the kitchen floor refinished.

But I don't have the money - and I didn't plan ahead! (It's still definitely on the Wish List, however!)

Nope. I've decided to paint the living room instead. The whole house is/was painted in "builder's beige" and, over time, it's gotten really grungy looking. Actually, grunge doesn't begin to describe it - but that's neither here nor there. The main thing is: I hope to tackle ONE room and maybe, just maybe, it'll be a dramatic enough improvement that I can convince Rog to splurge and hire some professional painters come in to finish the job (i.e. the ceiling - which is vaulted and I'm not fond of heights, and, perhaps even paint the REST of the house!).

* * * * *
I *think* I've decided on a color for the living room walls. It's mostly 'golden' with a slight greenish tint. Our house is really dark inside, unfortunately. The living room faces west (and into suburbia) - and we've got a huge shade tree out front - and the room only gets a sliver of direct sunlight in the late afternoon. The beige on the walls is not particularly "warm" so I'm hoping that by going with a golden tint, maybe it'll help brighten things up a bit. I do want it to look like a "color" though - so I'm scared I may end up going too dark. The last thing I need is to darken the room any further!

Additional challenge: With the living room being open to the kitchen, I don't want to clash with the existing color scheme (if you can call it that!) in the kitchen. I did put up some striped wallpaper in the kitchen during one of my previous "WYWO" episodes. There's a chair-rail along the walls of the kitchen and it used to have this truly hideous APPLES over green/beige checkers wallpaper below it. UUUUUGGGGGGLLLLYYYYYY!!! And the wall wasn't sized/prepped properly before the wallpaper was applied, so (Bad! Bad!) I was forced to paper over the existing paper (either that or spend weeks repairing the drywall, and I didn't have that much time!). Anyway, the current "scheme" is that we've got a beige + tan + teeny gold stripes wallpaper that kinda/sorta mimics beadboard wainscoting (definitely an improvement over those Gawd-awful checkered apples!).

I did check-out the paint chips against the wallpaper and I think I've found a halfway decent match. Of course, the paint chips look different under the fluorescent lighting in the kitchen vs. the incandescents (and occasional moments of natural light) in the living room...

It's really tough to decide on colors looking at little 1x2" paint chips and, unfortunately, Home Depot doesn't sell itty-bitty cans of paint samples ("But you can order them online from Behr"- Nope, I'm in "Instant Gratification Mode" now - No Time to Waste!). So I guess I'm just gonna take my chances. Buy a gallon of the stuff and see how it looks. If I totally hate it, I can always repaint it (But let's keep our fingers crossed that I won't have to!)

So today is "prep day." I'm in the process of removing the excess "crap" from the living room. And getting ready to move all the furniture into the middle of the room. Most of it s/b fairly easy - except for the piano (might have to beg a neighbor to help with that!). Remove all the switchplates and whatnot, then spackle and scrub the walls. Fun, eh???

And I'm sure I'll be taking MANY breaks throughout the day - so I'll probably post updates as things progress....................

Wish me luck!!! (Gawd, let this be a project I can FINISH!!!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My First Day Back...

...In the office since the "fit hit the shan" back in December!

Actually, that's not entirely true. I had been making "random appearances" when I felt up to it. Most of the time, I honestly didn't feel safe-enough to drive the 40+ miles to the office - so I stayed home.

And I am extremely grateful that I've got bosses who are "understanding" and allowed me the flexibility to work-at-home on a more-or-less fulltime basis while I got this Diabetes sh*t under control!

Nine Freaking Months!!! Yes, it took NINE MONTHS to get my blood glucose "under control!" (That's practically like childbirth!!!)

Thank GAWD for the Enocrinologist at Stanford!!!

And Thank GAWD for my Pig-Headedness in NOT accepting the half-a$$ed bullsh*t "treatments" that my Clueless doctor(s) were suggesting!!! No, I'm not going to launch into a tirade (tempting though that may be!), but my last visit w/my GP ended with a "My way or the Highway" attitude.

He gave me two options - neither of which were acceptable. Neither of which would have worked...

"Well, those are the only things I can do for you" and he basically REFUSED to write any more prescriptions for me.

"Actually, there IS one more thing you can do for me - You can write me a referral to see someone who knows what the hell they're doing Stanford's Endocrinology Clinic."

He reluctantly wrote the referral.

Annnnnnnywaaaaaayyyy... Thank GAWD!!!

So, I made it into the office today. I was definitely craving Human Interaction - and everyone I work with LOVES ME! And what's not to love?!! I *am* the "Supreme Goddess Extraordinaire" after all (Would that I could have that printed on my business cards)!

Both of the bosses remarked on how much BETTER I looked. "Not that you looked BAD, but..."

Awwww Bless Their Hearts!

Seriously, it was great getting back to see my peeps! Unfortunately, I spent entirely too much time BS-ing with people (I actually WORK a helluva lot harder from home - to tell you the truth!).

So I'm going back to my Tuesday / Thursday "in the office" schedule. I'll probably stick with the 5-6 hours "in the office" and 3-4 hours "login from home" schedule - because the traffic can be pretty stressful (and stress has an adverse effect on BG), but I'll work toward getting back to my former schedule...

Looking back - now that I'm feeling HUMAN again - I can't even imagine how I was getting through "life" before this!!! I really was a fulltime Zombie!

Not a whole heckuva lot going on - other than My Big Exciting Day at the Office (and it really wasn't THAT exciting!). Other than that, nothing particularly noteworthy to blog about :::sigh:::

Come to think of it - Sometimes NO excitement is actually a Good Thing!

Someday, maybe, this blog'll pick-up a bit in the Entertainment Realm. I just haven't stumbled onto any particularly amusing tales of late.

Time will tell.............

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Bestest, Simplest BBQ Ever

Yummy Sweet Corn!

Well, we had a perfectly AWESOME and LAZY weekend...

Temps were in the upper-90's and all we did was laze at the poolside Tiki Bar! When it got too hot, we'd dive in!

Yep. Sucks to be us!!!

Last night, we decided to BBQ. Just the two of us, so I didn't go nuts or anything. I had some NY steaks in the freezer. I took 'em out and defrosted them. Basically just sprinkled them generously with McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning, covered 'em with plastic wrap and left 'em in the fridge for a couple of hours.

I also bought a few fresh ears of corn at the grocery store. Now corn is something that we normally boil b/c we don't have enough room on the grill for a "feast" AND corn. When we boil 'em, my "secret" is to add a teaspoon or two of Splenda to the water, and a splash of cream, and a tablespoon of butter. They tend to stay "pretty sweet" that way.

Well, this time, I figured we'd try to grill 'em. I keep thinking about "Fair Corn" - you know, the kind they sell at the County Fair (they canceled our County Fair this year, so I've been jonesin'!). I always figured they had some kinda Voodoo Magic at those Corn-On-The-Cob booths because I've *never* had corn so good, anywhere else!

Ehh, what the hey - let's try grilling it - see what happens! I Googled "How to Grill Corn on the Cob" and found a zillion websites that talked about it. All with "slightly different" or "extremely vague" instructions.

In the interest of simplicity - I'll just tell you what we did! First, I stripped the corn, leaving the entire husk intact, and still attached to the ears. Then I did my damndest to remove all the corn silk. I suspect that, as long as you get *most* of it, the last half-dozen-or-so strands will just burn off. Then I pulled the husks back up over the corn niblets. Re-wrapping corn is an art that I haven't quite mastered, so I ended up covering up just the ends of the corn in foil (and I still didn't do it perfectly! Some of the niblets got charred 'cuz they were "exposed"). Then I put the corn in one of those corn-bondage-devices. A metal crimpy-lookin-thing that holds 4 corn cobs in an orderly, military fashion (I suspect that's not mandatory - but it makes "turning" a whole lot easier!). Then I filled the sink with water and soaked the corn for about an hour (so the husks wouldn't burn too quickly).

Rog put 'em on the grill on medium to medium-low heat, turning frequently (this is a gas grill, BTW. I have no doubt that charcoal would be infinitely better, but not as easily controlled, temperature-wise).

Then I wandered out to the garden and picked a half dozen Super-Fresh tomatoes. Sliced 'em up and arranged them artistically w/fresh "gourmet" mozzarella cheese (not the rubbery-yellow-stuff from the "cheese" section of the grocery store - this was the "expensive" stuff from the gourmet food section), then added fresh basil (from my Aero-Garden on the sink) and drizzled Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top... Insalata Caprese - about as fresh as you can get!!!

And there was also a tub of (store-bought) potato salad available for DH, who insists on carbs.

Well, aside from having to dodge a couple of hungry wasps, dinner was abso-freaking-lutely PERFECT! Rog even perfected the art of searing the steaks on the outside (I like 'em crisp and black on the edges, and pink in the middle)... The corn: Was positively ORGASMIC!!!! Oh-My-Gawd!!! It was AT LEAST as good as "Fair Corn!" Dripping with butter, Ohhh Gawd!!!

No, corn isn't low-carb, and yes I *did* pay for it. But - GAWD - was it worth it!!!

No more boiled corn for us!!!!

(I just wish I could GROW fresh corn here! It kills me that my next-door neighbor can grow fresh corn - not 10' away from my garden! - but I just CAN'T!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Musings about Jimmy Buffett Shows

Shoreline 2006
"My fifteen seconds of Shame!"

Okay, here's my "Dirty Little Secret" (that's not all that "Secret!"). I am a BigTime Parrothead / Jimmy Buffett Phan! I'll admit, I joined the "cult" a little late - but still *before* he started to experience his real commercial success (a la "Five O'Clock Somewhere" with Alan Jackson).

I think I went to my first JB concert shortly after I met Roger (I really wasn't much of a concert-goer before that - to be honest). So that must've been in 2001 - at Shoreline. For that particular show, we arrived late and totally MISSED the opportunity to Tailgate - which is a HUGE part of the JB Experience! (Freakin' Neophytes!).

Actually, a colleague of mine, "Dave-Who," turned me onto JB. He'd sent me a bunch of CD's that he'd burned, of JB "live" concerts. Now don't get me wrong, I was already 'familiar' with Jimmy Buffett and had his "Songs you Know By Heart" CD somewhere in the back of my car. I knew "Margaritaville" and "Why Don't We Get Drunk..." Seriously - who on this earth *hasn't* heard Margaritaville, right? But I hadn't yet "embraced" the whole Parrothead thing, right?

I listened to the CD's that Dave sent me and found that - oddly - I really enjoyed them. Loved the "live" versions of the songs FAR better than the studio versions, right? For me, that was really unusual. But then, like I said, I wasn't much of a concert-goer until I'd met Rog...

Anyway, songs from "other artists," when heard as a "live concert" version... Well... I really NEVER liked the "live" versions. I ALWAYS preferred the studio version.

And, after experiencing a Jimmy Buffett concert (or two, or twelve! I've long-since lost count!), I can TOTALLY get-into the "live" versions FAR better than their studio equivalents...

At least for Jimmy Buffett tunes!

So, I think I completely "converted over" to the cult sometime in 2001... And since then, I think I've gone completely "over the top" and that's okay!!!

Our backyard is totally Tropical and we have a sign hanging behind the Tiki Bar declaring that this is "Miller's Margaritaville."

Funny Story: I can't even remember what year this happened, but it probably doesn't matter. Let's just say it was "several years ago."

A little background info is in order here: Rog is an Old Hippie and BigTime DeadHead. In fact, he moved from Connecticut to San Francisco, CA *specifically* so that he could follow The Dead, right? And he's got this "scary recall" feature where he can listen to a Live Dead Song and recall the date, year, venue, and recount obscure historical footnotes about the show - just by listening to the song!!! It's really kinda creepy. "Fillmore, April 17, 1979 - Jerry's gastric reflux was acting up that night so it wasn't one of their better shows..." THAT sorta thing (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration - but not by much!)

And - just for the record - I'm NOT that bad about JB, okay?!!

So anyway, "several years ago," I had finished a hellish day at work and was sitting out at the Tiki Bar, listening to one of my Jimmy Buffett CD's. I was sippin' on a margarita and basically being 'In My Happy Place.'

Well, Rog - at the time - was working at a job that was "less-than-fulfilling" and sometimes he'd come home from work in a less-than-stellar mood. In fact, he'd be lookin' to "Kick the [proverbial] dog" and that "dog" was usually "me," right?

(Which is not to imply that Rog is a bad guy or anything - but we were experiencing some "challenges" back then) (We're MUCH better now!).

So anyway, he comes home from work. Comes outside. Sees me in My Happy Place and this just doesn't seem to set well with him.

So he proceeds to point out that "You know... He's really not that good of a singer..." (And, honestly, there's no denying that). My response was something akin to "Yeah, so what?" as I took another sip of my adult beverage...

"And he's really not that good of a musician, either..."

"Yeah, so?" I replied "Neither was Jerry Garcia..." [resume sipping - ummm - more "enthusiastically!"]

Well, apparently, when I dragged Jerry into it, I must've inadvertently 'declared war' or something. I mean, based on his rather explosive response, you'd've thought I'd insulted his mother!! The diatribe that followed isn't worthy of repeating, but I do recall stating, with remarkable calmness - no less - that "You know, when you get right down to it, Parrotheads and Deadheads really do have a lot in common..." and "Yeah, the costuming and drugs of choice differ, but when you get right down to it, they're basically identical..."

Again, I'll skip much of his response (but I think it may have included the phrase "Are you out of your f**king mind?!" Or words to that effect) with the end-result being a stalemate. Rog was adamant that Parrotheads and Deadheads had absolutely NOTHING in common and I recall that the evening ended with me turning off the stereo abruptly, retreating to the guest-room and slamming the door.

(Sometimes I choose to take the chicken-sh*t approach and fall back on "Choose Your Battles" which can be infuriating b/c I reach a point where "This conversation is OVER" and, well, there's no add'l discussion. This was one of those situations where "retreat" was the only sensible option, IMHO, because there could be No Winner.)

Well, fast-forward to several-months (or possibly a year) later: We went to see Jimmy at HP Pavilion in downtown San Jose (Sucky venue - more on that later!). So I'm thinkin' that this argume-- err "lively discussion" probably took place around the end-of-summer 2003 because the JB show @ HP was early in 2004 ("License to Chill" Tour).

So, we watched the show, and planned our retreat before the end b/c we didn't want to get stuck in traffic, right?

Well, as we were leaving, Jimmy was starting his encores, right? We were "out" of the main arena, in the outer walkway, and making a beeline for the exit when Rog stops us abruptly. "Is he playing a Dead Tune? Yeah, that's Scarlet Begonias!!! Stop!" So we ducked back into the arena to listen to the first encore. Sure as sh*t - he was playing Scarlet Begonias - an old Dead tune!!!

We stayed and listened, and the crowd went wild and yada-yada...

After we'd ducked out of the main arena, back to the outer walkway, I asked Roger - quite pointedly - "So, tell me again - how Deadheads have NOTHING in common with Parrotheads!!!"

Sometimes, ya just gotta wait for your victories, right?!! *That* particular victory was especially sweet, actually!

And now Roger is a Convert! :-D

* * * * *

2005 - JB Concert - HP Pavilion - Where we earned our "Badge of Honor!"

"Salty Piece of Land" Tour. JB's annual NoCal Concert was scheduled for April 2005 @ HP Pavilion in downtown San Jose. By that time, I had nearly perfected my Tailgating Skills (having missed out on previous opportunities 2001-2004). We *did* have a pick-em-up-truck (Big Bonus for Tailgating!), and I'd loaded up out Tiki-Thatch umbrella, Hula-skirt (for the tailgate), and even had a ring-toss game (Flamingo-themed)... Well, we pulled in and I setup the thatch umbrella and hula-skirt on the tailgate. We had a couple of folding chairs and were basically "hanging out" 'til the doors opened (this was before I had DC-operated appliances!).

Well, HP Pavilion has a strict "No-Tailgating" Policy. Kinda silly for a sporting venue, if you ask me (but obviously nobody did!). Still. It seems that there's no real "definition" for what constitutes "Tailgating!" We didn't have food. We didn't have (visible) alcoholic beverages. We were basically just "sitting there" at the back of our truck, with a Tiki Umbrella "up" and Hula-Skirt taped to the tailgate and I guess that constituted "Illegal Tailgating!"

So we started out with the in-house "Security" folks who came up and informed us that Tailgating was not allowed. "But, we aren't tailgating! We're just waiting for the doors to open!"

Now, mind you, folks are pulling in - all around us - and setting up *their* party gigs, right? Minivans w/folding chairs and "Hawaiian" themed beach towels, and inflatable palm-tree coolers and yada yada. But I guess our "thatch umbrella" was just too much to bear, right?

Next thing we know, we've got the SJPD pulling up to the back of our truck, telling us we have to leave. "Tailgating is NOT ALLOWED!" In the meantime, a car drives by - very slowly - blasting "BAD BOYS! BAD BOYS! WHAT'CHA GONNA DO? WHAT'CHA GONNA DO WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU!"

Well, the cops were *quite* adamant about the fact that we HAD TO LEAVE so we packed up our sh*t, demanded a refund on our way out (we did get refunded for parking!), and moved to a different parking lot.


To add Insult to Injury - during the show, they did show the traditional "Parking Lot Video" of folks partying - well, in the parking lot! - and there were TONS of folks who'd arrived AFTER WE DEPARTED - who were featured on the video!

Rog wrote a rather "heated" email to the folks who run HP Pavilion - after the fact - and got a canned (and entirely unsatisfactory) response...

Oh, well!

Nevertheless, there is definitely something "honorable" about getting 86'd from the Parking Lot of a JB Venue for "Illegal Tailgating!" I wear that badge WITH PRIDE!!!

* * * * *

There were a couple of years where JB didn't play the Bay Area. One year (I think it was '05) we flew down to Vegas to see him at the MGM Grand. I recall that he had a show scheduled at Shoreline, but his mother died and the show was cancelled. I'm thinkin' that's a valid excuse!

The show in Vegas was fun - but it was a HUGE indoor venue and, well, pungent smoke was suspiciously absent!

And, factoring in the gambling losses that particular weekend, I'd have to say that was THE most expensive concert I've ever seen!!!

* * * * *

2006 @ Shoreline (April - "Party at the End of the World" Tour) - aka "My Fifteen Seconds of Fame!"

So 2006 was the year that Jimmy Buffett brought "Summer" to Northern California! We'd had an unseasonably "wet" winter and things were pretty damned depressing. But by the end of April, things managed to "clear-up" and I totally attributed that to JB scheduling an EARLY concert for us!!!

By then, I had TOTALLY perfected the Tailgate Thing! We had the thatch umbrella, the Hula-Skirt for the tailgate, assorted food-warmers AND a DC-Operated Blender! And Shoreline is "Tailgate-Friendly!" (Well, except for the local gendarmes - more on them later!).

We'd arrived early. So early, in fact, that the gates for the parking lot were not yet open! So, as
we stood in line, I started the conversion of "Willie" (our 4x4 pickup) to Mobile TikiBar! I setup the thatch umbrella and Hula-skirt taped to the tailgate. We slowly made our way into "Preferred Parking" and I announced to Roger that My Goal, for the Evening was to make it onto the "Parking Lot Video!"

Well, the gates opened, and we made our way in... I completed the set-up w/DC-operated blender and food-warmers. We ate Mexican Grub for dinner and Sugar-free Margaritas (Rog mostly concentrated on beer!). JB had "his people" wandering the parking lots - taking videos and whatnot... Well, evidently, Willie made the grade because they DID stop at our truck! They gave us a tee-shirt and "interviewed" us on video. End result: They video'd the back of the truck (zeroing in on the "TO CHILL" license plate) and panned back to my big, fat, mug! And THAT video made it onto the "Parking Lot Video!" (My face - and Roger's hands, operating the blender! Rog was peeved about that!). Well, for the rest of the night, ppl were coming up to me saying "HEY!!! I saw you on the VIDEO! CONGRATULATIONS!!!")

Pretty freakin' cool, I think!!!

* * * * *

2007 - Jimmy didn't "schedule" any shows in NoCal - so we drove down to Irvine to see him in concert. Rog was "in charge" of determining the route and our ETA (I, wisely, stayed out of the "decision-making" there - other than setting up the Hotel Reservations!). well, we ended up on "The 405" during peak commute hours on a Friday afternoon. No comments offered!

We *did* see JB. We *did* party in the parking lot. So much so, in fact, that I have almost NO recollection of the show!!! (But I *am* a "Happy" Drunk!!!). Irvine Meadows is a HUGE venue though. Not nearly as nice as Shoreline....

Later that year, JB *did* announce a show at the Fillmore - a venue that holds less than 1500ppl, $ 300.00 for ONE ticket and went solo. Yes. Solo!

That kinda made up for the fact that I didn't remember a damned thing from the Irvine Show!!!

I was sooooooo close to Jimmy, I could see him SWEAT!!!

* * * * *

This year, I originally scored section 200 seats when the tix went on sale (that was the BEST I could get!!!). Well, I've since logged onto Ticket B@stard and gotten better seats, so I'm trying to unload the old ones. Anyway, I am MONDO excited about seeing JB in concert, again, this year... Hopefully, we'll make the Parking Lot Video again!!!

* * * * *

More to come, in the coming weeks..........................


Thursday, September 4, 2008

'Nuther Gorgeous Night...

Well... I had a "rant" in the hopper about "Pharmaceutical Challenges" (Meaning the Pharmacy messed up again) but I've decided Screw it - for now!

It was a simply gorgeous day - temps in the upper 90*s and I managed to swim a few laps this afternoon... Yes, I swam! Legitimate LAPS and everything (none of this lazy- @$$ quasi dog-paddling crap I've been reduced to)!

Yes, because of the new insulin, I feel TERRIFIC! (Yay!). Still tweaking, of course. I've had a couple of scary hypo's, but overall things are MUCH better.

So I'm just gonna "ride" this high...

Tonight is a beautiful night! Temps feel like they're in the 80's (a rarity here!) and I'm hangin' at the Tiki Bar. MP3 player hooked up to the new Boom Box, listenin' to my Tropical Resort tunes, and sipping on a (sugar-free) margarita!

Yep! Life Is Good!

Labor Day Weekend was good, too. We actually saddled up the Chrome Ponies and took a putt. I haven't ridden Phoenix (my Heritage) since July 4th weekend. I've felt too lousy - to tell you the truth. Along with that, my confidence had been temporarily "shattered" and I was pretty apprehensive about climbing aboard again. And THAT is just plain weird for me!

"Normal Nancy" knows no fear!

So it was good to get "back in the saddle" so to speak. Felt good to get the wind in my face and bugs in my teeth! Although I wasn't "up for" our Mega-Twisties - not just yet. We stuck to familiar backroads (mostly mild twisties and sweepers). Stopped off for lunch at one of the few remaining roadhouses (too close to civilization for my liking!), and then headed home...

So that was good. I didn't drop the bike - and that's even better ;-)

They say there are two kinds of bikers: "Those who have dropped their bikes and those who will." I'm happy to say I am still among the latter group!

And Gawd help me - when/if I do drop a bike - let it be the Sportster! Much as I love Magnolia (and I *do*), she's small enough that she's less likely to do TOO much damage to ME!

Anyhooo... For now, I prefer to remain among the "non-droppers!" I just wish we had more backroads watering holes. Hell, I'd take ANY backroad watering hole! Sux that they're all gone :::sigh:::

* * * * *
Wow. I have nothing to wax philosophic about tonight! I could go on-and-on about how much better I'm feeling (and yak incessantly about the challenges of "dialing in" the new insulin - which is still a work-in-progress), but I'm rather enjoying this whole "live in the moment" thing. I feel like I need to make-up time for my "Lost Summer!" We're definitely being blessed with fantastic weather this September. S'posed to hold - at least thru the weekend, and I intend to experience every minute of it!!!

I can definitely tell there's a "turn" coming. Sun's lower in the sky, so the Solar is having a tougher time keeping the pool heated. Get in the pool before noon and it's *quite* brisk!

(Yeah, all-at-once now: "Poor Nancy!")

Afternoon swimming is *much* better!

Hopefully we can keep the pool uncovered for a few more weeks - but we'll be shutting everything down by the end of October ("Waaaaahhhhhh!!!")

Okay - Quit thinking about that stuff!!! It goes against "Living in the Moment!!!"

It's good! It's all good!

Damn. I really don't have anything more to say tonight. How odd - normally you can't shut me up!

Oh well. I think I'll just sit here and "Be Happy!" G'Night!

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